Monday, November 3, 2014

Pennsylvania Animals: Eastern Chipmunk

The most fun we had with chipmunks happened one year while on vacation. We bought a huge bag of peanuts and fed the chipmunks all week. Soon they were climbing up on our laps and taking the nuts from our hands.

While we were feeding them, read more
they usually stuffed their cheeks full and carried the loot off to their holes. Once in a while, we would see one sitting on a nearby rock holding a peanut with his front paws and gnawing on it.  After reading about chipmunks, I found they also use their cheeks to carry the dirt out of their holes. They might need a toothbrush afterwards!

Something I have never seen is a baby chipmunk. That’s not surprising since they usually spent 60 days underground after birth. They leave the nest at that point and are half-grown from the two and one-half inches and one-tenth of an ounce that they are at birth. Mommy chipmunks get all the credit for raising the babies.

As adults, chipmunks are eight to ten inches long including tail and weigh two and one-half to four ounces.  Male and female are alike in size and coloring.

Beside nuts, chipmunks eat a variety of food. They eat many kinds of seeds, mushrooms, berries, corn, fruit and garden vegetables. For protein, they eat bird eggs, insects, small reptiles, and tiny amphibians, among other things.


Comstock, Anna Botsford, Handbook of Nature Study, Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press/Comstock Publishing Associates, 1986.

Fergus, Chuck, “Chipmunk,” Wildlife Notes-175-27, Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Game Commission.

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